Category Archives: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Calls mount for action on ‘killer robots’ after UN talks


Geneva (AFP) – “Robots are not taking over the world”, the diplomat leading the first official talks on autonomous weapons assured Friday, seeking to ease criticism over slow progress towards restricting the use of so-called “killer robots”.

The United Nations was wrapping up an initial five days of discussions on weapons systems that can identify and destroy targets without human control, which experts say will soon be battle ready.

The meeting of the UN’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) marked an initial step towards an agreed set of rules governing such weapons.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/calls-mount-action-killer-robots-un-talks-155430106.html

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U.S. Catholic Leaders Signal Resistance to Pope’s Agenda – WSJ


BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chose a conservative archbishop for a key post Tuesday, signaling resistance to Pope Francis’s vision for the church among the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of Kansas City, was elected chairman of the committee on Pro-Life Activities. In a vote of 96 to 82, he defeated Cardinal Blase Cupich, of Chicago, who is seen as a liberal in the church and a close ally of the pope. 

The vote breaks a longstanding tradition of the position being held by a cardinal—an unusual lapse of deference in a highly rank-conscious body—and suggests that Catholic leaders in the U.S. remain largely resistant to the changes Pope Francis is trying to bring to the church.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-catholic-leaders-signal-resistance-to-popes-agenda-1510677737

Venezuela Goes Bust 


As of Tuesday evening, the Investment Swaps and Derivatives Association still had not declared Venezuela in default. That matters because this will trigger the insurance obligations inherent in the credit default swaps. But S&P Global Ratings declared the country in default Monday. On Tuesday morning the Luxembourg Stock Exchange issued a suspension notice for the bonds with missed payments.

President Nicolás Maduro has formed a commission to restructure up to $150 billion of the debt and put Vice President Tareck El Aissami —who is under U.S. sanctions for drug trafficking—in charge. Mr. El Aissami called a meeting of creditors on Monday in Caracas, which most bondholders did not attend. Press reports said Mr. El Aissami delivered a monologue on Venezuela’s intention to pay and took no questions. He argued that Trump Administration sanctions make it difficult for the dictatorship to arrange refinancing.

The real problem is that restructuring assumes the country can grow again. That’s nearly impossible without a change in policy that will free the economy.

If Caracas doesn’t find a way to settle with bondholders, they will soon ask authorities to seize Venezuelan assets such as oil shipments at sea and Citgo facilities in the U.S. Such are the wages socialism.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/venezuela-goes-bust-1510703305

Conversion Therapy Against LGBT People in China 


Homosexuality is neither a crime nor officially regarded as an illness in China. For decades, the legal status of consensual same-sex activity between men was ambiguous, but that was cleared up in the revised criminal code of 1997. In 2001, the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. This is consistent with the consensus of global medical associations that homosexuality is not a medical condition.

However, public hospitals and private clinics in China continue to offer so-called “conversion therapy,” which aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual, based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a disorder that needs to be remedied. Despite a legal framework that requires that the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders comply with diagnostic standards and standards on the categorizations of mental disorders, Chinese authorities have not taken the necessary steps to stop public hospitals or private clinics from offering conversion therapy. The steps should include: issuing clear guidelines to all public and private hospitals and clinics indicating that conversion therapy contravenes existing law; closely monitoring medical facilities to determine whether conversion therapy is taking place; and, where it is, holding such facilities accountable, including by suspending the licenses of errant facilities or practitioners.

This report documents multiple abusive aspects of conversion therapy, including coercion and threats, physical abduction, arbitrary confinement, forced medication and injection, and use of electroshocks. It is based on interviews with 17 individuals who underwent conversion therapy under intense family and social pressure, as well as parents and rights activists.

All interviewees were emphatic about one thing: they would not have undergone conversion therapy were it not for family and social pressure. Some said their parents took them forcibly to hospitals for such therapy: Chinese society continues to strongly favor children who can pass on their family name. For individuals who are gay or lesbian, this creates intense family pressure to enter heterosexual marriages and have children. Despite all efforts, no one experienced any change to their sexual orientation.

Human Rights Watch found that, in most cases, conversion therapy took place in public hospitals, which are government-run and monitored. In a few cases, conversion therapy was conducted in privately owned psychiatric or psychological clinics, licensed and supervised by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/11/14/have-you-considered-your-parents-happiness/conversion-therapy-against-lgbt-people

When child sex isn’t rape: French to set age of consent


PARIS (AP) — Is a 13-year-old girl old enough to agree to sex with an adult? That’s a question France is asking itself as the government prepares to set a legal age for sexual consent for the first time.

Twice in recent weeks, French courts refused to prosecute grown men for rape after they had sex with 11-year-olds because authorities couldn’t prove coercion. Amid public horror, the government is drafting a bill to say sex with children under a certain age is by definition coercive.

Feminist groups plan a protest Tuesday to argue the age should be set at 15. Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet says 13 “is worth considering.”

The age is just one piece of an upcoming bill on sexual violence and harassment. The bill has gained importance amid worldwide concern unleashed by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/child-sex-isnt-rape-french-set-age-consent-105241781.html

Donald Trump threatened by ISIS as US Presidents arrives in Philippines 

The threats come as Trump this evening flies into the Philippines in the final stop of his tour of Asia.

Security forces in the Philippines have been battling the threat of jihadis for years, with the city of Marawi being to reduced to rubble by ISIS.

Terrorists have been circulating the image on encrypted messaging app Telegram – urging fighters to “lie in wait” and “ambush” the US President.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/659342/Donald-Trump-ISIS-Philippines-Threat-Terror-Attack-US-President-Assassination-Propaganda

Investigators probe Trump knowledge of campaign’s Russia dealings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned Sam Clovis, co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, to determine if Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign team’s contacts with Russia, two sources familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-investigation/investigators-probe-trump-knowledge-of-campaigns-russia-dealings-sources-idUSKBN1DB04J

Plague: Madagascar outbreak feared out of control as cops seize bodies 


Charlotte Ndiaye, a World Health Organisation (WHO) worker, said: “The problem you have now among communities in Madagascar is that most families don’t want to give back the body.

“The police come to take the body. This is terrible. It is really terrible.”

She noted there is also a lack of an “official” plague burial system meaning many families don’t know what to do with their dead.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/659028/Plague-Black-Death-Madagascar-Africa-Spread-Death-Toll-Symptoms-WHO-Airborne-Pneumonic

Saudi Arabia Orders Its Citizens Out of Lebanon, Raising Fears of War 


BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon on Thursday, escalating a bewildering crisis between the two Arab nations and raising fears that it could lead to an economic crisis or even war.

The order came after Saudi Arabia had stepped up its condemnations of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite militia that is the most powerful political and military force in Lebanon, and asserted that Lebanon had effectively declared war on Saudi Arabia.

The developments plunged Lebanon into a state of national anxiety, with politicians, journalists and even parents picking up their children at school consumed with the question of what could come next.

While analysts said a war was unlikely — because Saudi Arabia was not capable of waging one and Israel did not want one now — they worried that with so many active conflicts in the region, any Saudi actions that raised the temperature increased the risk of an accidental conflagration.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-lebanon-war.html?referer=http://www.drudgereport.com/

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister calls for sanctions on Iran for its ‘support of terrorism’

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister urged the international community to slap fresh sanctions on Iran for its alleged support of terrorism Thursday.

This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of being behind a ballistic missile attack on Saturday. The missile, which was fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, was intercepted in flight near Riyadh’s airport.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/09/saudi-arabia-foreign-minister-calls-for-sanctions-on-iran-for-its-support-of-terrorism.html